free from chains December 5 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Romans 5, 6, 7, 8

Spiritual Freedom from Bondage

There are different kinds of prisons. There are literal prisons, and then there are prisons of the mind and soul. People can be prisoners to guilt because of the things they have done or failed to do. Spiritual freedom from bondage gives people great joy. Freedom also brings responsibility. How shall we who are spiritually free then live?

The Apostle Paul wrote to the believers in Rome. Paul’s mission was to preach the gospel to the Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews), especially the latter. He wanted the Romans to know the message he preached before he visited them.

The gospel sets us free!

The gospel Paul preached is the good news that Jesus died for all people of every age—he died in our place so we might have salvation. There is no righteousness, religion, or heritage of our own which makes us acceptable to God. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, not only died for our sins but was raised from the dead for our salvation. He offers all people freedom from the prison of sin and guilt leading to death. “God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification” (Romans 4:24-25, NIV).

What is justification and what are its benefits?

Justification means guilty sinners are declared righteous by God’s grace. Christ is our advocate. He went before the judge, God the Father, and pleaded our case. He paid the penalty for our sin with his own pure and innocent blood, and it was accepted as payment. The Apostle Paul says,

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God (Romans 5:1-2, NIV).

Here are the benefits of justification–we have peace with God, we have access to salvation, and we have joy!

Saved from Wrath and Reconciled to God

We are all sinners by nature and by choice and are under the wrath of the Holy God, our creator. Because of the death of Christ for us, however, we can be saved from wrath and reconciled to God! This is another reason we greatly rejoice. We inherited our sin nature from one man, Adam, because he and Eve were sinners, but through one man, the perfect God-man, Jesus Christ, we are now offered salvation from our sins and eternal life. This is a gift from God. Have we accepted this most precious gift from him? (more...)

Freedom—what does it mean?

If we have accepted God’s gift of salvation, can we now do whatever we want? No, that would be ingratitude and taking the grace of God for granted. We are free from the law that leads to condemnation and death, but Christ sets us free to serve him, not to enslave ourselves to sin again.

In the same way [as Christ died and was raised to life], count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness (Romans 6:11-13, NIV)

Our Helper

We all, as Paul did, still struggle with sin (Romans 7:14-25), but we can gain the victory over our sin through Jesus Christ. “…there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death,” (Romans 8:1-2, NIV). The Holy Spirit dwells within all of us individually, if we have trusted in Christ to save us from our sins. We now have the Holy Spirit of God to help us conquer our sins.

Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation-- but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God,” (Romans 8:12-14, NIV).

Let us not be imprisoned again because of our sins. Let us live in freedom.

The Privileges of belonging to God

The Holy Spirit makes us sons (children) of God. Because we are children of God, however, that does not mean we will not struggle with sin or suffer hardships. It means we have a new privileged relationship with God as children and heirs of the promise of eternal life. What privileges do we have?

  • If we suffer as Christ suffered, we will also share glory with Christ (8:17).
  • The Holy Spirit will help us in our weaknesses (8:26-29).
  • God will be our defender, and even if we suffer, nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God (8:31-39).

Lessons to Live By

  • Freedom from guilt and sin comes through faith in Jesus Christ. Accepting his death, burial, and resurrection for us justifies us in the eyes of God.
  • The benefits of justification are peace with God, access to salvation, and joy!
  • Because of the death of Christ for us we can be saved from God’s wrath and reconciled to him. (more...)
  • We are justified and spiritually freed from bondage, not to return to a sinful life, but to live a life of victory with the help of the Holy Spirit of God who lives within us.
  • We have some awesome privileges being God’s children—he is our rewarder, our helper in times of weakness, and our defender.

Focus Verses

Romans 5:1-2 (NIV)

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

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A Look Ahead: Because we have been saved, are we more special than the Jews? Learn about The Sovereign Redemptive Plan of God in our Next Lesson.

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